Unity

By Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, 1993. First Interstate World Center (formerly Library Tower), 633 West Fifth (5th) Street. As of 2016 the whereabouts of this work are unknown. Photographed in 1997.

The artwork includes 3 murals of angels and a bilingual text in English and Spanish. The English text is reproduced below:

"Nuestra Senora de los Angeles de Porciuncula" (Our Lady of the Angels of Porciuncula) was the original name given to this area by Fray Juan Crespi, the Franciscan who served as the diarist for the Spanish expedition led by Gaspar de Portola that arrived here on August 2, 1769. On the previous day, the expedition had camped east of the present downtown to celebrate the greatest Franciscan feast, "Our Lady of the Angeles of Porciuncula." Upon arriving here, the expedition named what is now the Los Angeles River, Porciuncula, after the Porciuncula Chapel. The Porciuncula Chapel, now in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the cathedral near Assisi, Italy, was restored by St. Francis of Assisi in the thirteenth century to become the center of the Franciscan order. The name on this mural, "The Town of the Queen of the Angels on the Porciuncula River," was the formal name cited in the official decree of Governor Felipe de Neve which founded the pueblo on September 4, 1781. The current name, Los Angeles, was formalized when the city was incorporated on April 4, 1850.
Artists' statement (from the CRA files):
"Commissioned by Maguire Thomas Partners and Pacific Enterprises and dedicated to the people of Los Angeles, February 10, 1993.

Unity was inspired by the name, City of the Angels, and by the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of Los Angeles. The side angels are based on the European Renaissance angels on the Porciuncula Chapel, the cradle of the Franciscan order, in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, near Asisi, Italy. The central angel incorporates symbols from the myriad cultures that comprised Los Angeles since its early days. The gilded wood arc radiating from the angel's head is borrowed from images of Quetzacoatl, the important Aztec, Mayan, and Toltec deity. The carved mahogany headpiece is inspired by Nigerian masks. The cast aluminum wings are patterned after the American bald eagle, symbolizing Native American history. The painted banner below the angel is adapted from a 10th century Buddhist painting.

Unity celebrates our community's ideals with the conviction that our united energy and spirit will create opportunity and well being for all of our citizens."

Central angel with eagle wings:

Angel with book:

Angel with string instrument:

Text panel:



To: Bunker Hill


Photographs by Ruth Wallach

1/1998, updated 2/2017